Demystifying Ship Recycling - Issue 12

26 Feb 2021
Author: Mr. Kiran Thorat & Dr. Anand Hiremath

Firefighting arrangements at HKC Compliant recycling facilities 

The entire ship recycling process involves slicing the vessel’s hull into different sections and extracting steel plates, angle bars, and stiffeners of different shapes and sizes. The slicing is primarily done using gas cutting. It is impossible to imagine ship recycling without hot work. There is always a risk of fire in recycling yards due to continuous gas-cutting operations. Hot work is mainly done on the vessel, which is a primary cutting zone. The vessel’s slice is lifted and shifted to the secondary cutting zone with a crane for further hot work. The HKC-compliant recycling facilities are designed considering fire safety and firefighting measures.

The yards use different types of portable extinguishers which are located within the yard as per the fire plan. The portable extinguishers used are of different types and capacities. It is common to find Dry Chemical Powder, Foam Type, and CO2 type portable fire extinguishers at recycling facilities. In addition, sand buckets are strategically stored, which can be readily used in case of a small fire. The yard workers must undergo compulsory training to use portable fire extinguishers to become eligible to work at recycling yards. Shipyards conduct regular unannounced mock drills for the simulation of fire extinguishers for different types of fires. Portable fire extinguishers are kept on standby when doing hot work on the vessel’s hull. The extinguishers are kept obstruction-free for quick access. The fire extinguishers are examined every month by the safety inspector of the yard. Furthermore, the fire extinguishers are checked by external agencies annually.



Fire blankets are also used for extinguishing small fires.

Recycling yards are provided with fire pumps of adequate capacity to generate sufficient pressure to reach higher sections of the vessel. A fireline is installed in the yard with fire hydrants at different locations to access every part of the yard.

Similarly, fire pumps and fire hoses are arranged on the vessel's hull during the cutting process. Diesel engines drive the fire pumps as the electric power is not available on the vessel and also as a backup in case of power failure onshore. Few yards keep the fire hoses under pressure for immediate use. Fire pumps are function tested every morning before commencing the gas cutting work. Fire rounds are taken regularly by the safety officer and trained workers.

In addition to the firefighting arrangements at the yard, there is one external fire station located in Alang, and it's easily accessible to all recycling yards within a short time. The external fire station is equipped with fire engines and trained personnel to extinguish the fire.

HKC compliant recycling facilities strictly comply with the firefighting measures.

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Ship Recycling Team

About Author

Kiran Thorat is a Trader at GMS, where he looks after sustainable ship recycling projects. Kiran believes that Sustainable Recycling is an integral part of Sustainable Shipping and a notable example of a circular economy. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from the Marine Engineering and Research Institute (DMET), India, and a Master's Degree in Energy, Trade, and Finance from Cass Business School, London.

Dr. Anand M. Hiremath is a Civil Engineer and holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati), India. He was awarded Doctorate Degree in the year 2016 for his research work on Ship Recycling by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), India. In addition, he has a diploma in Industrial safety, is a qualified lead auditor for ISO 9k, 14k and 18k. Dr. Hiremath published the first practical handbook on ship recycling, entitled: "The Green Handbook: A Practical Checklist to Monitor the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships" which highlights the procedures the GMS RSRP follows to help both Ship and Yard Owners recycle a vessel in an environmentally-friendly manner. He is the Chief Sustainability Officer of GMS.

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Ship Recycling Team